Tailor’s Bunion Surgery

Tailor’s bunion surgery is carried out to relieve the pain caused by Tailor’s bunion, a bony lump at the base of the little toe on the outside of the foot.

What does it involve?

Usually carried out as a day case procedure, surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic with an injection in the foot to numb it and reduce pain after surgery. During surgery, a 2cm incision (cut) is made over the lump that is then removed and the bone is then cut (an osteotomy) to reposition the bones and make the foot narrower. A small screw is used to hold the osteotomy in place.


Immediately after surgery:

  • Your foot will be bandaged, numb and pain free
  • You will be referred to a physiotherapist who will give you a padded shoe and advise on your rehabilitation programme
  • You will be sent home only when you are comfortable, with a follow-up appointment and painkillers if required

During the first few weeks:

  • Elevate your foot (above the level of your heart) as much as possible to reduce swelling
  • Move around only when you need to, for example to wash or use the toilet. Don’t put weight on the operated leg
  • Some blood ooze can be expected in the bandage. If you are worried, contact the Fortius Clinic for advice
  • Take painkillers as prescribed by your doctor

Follow-up appointments:

Everyone is different, so healing and post-operative programmes vary from person to person. However, the schedule of follow-up appointments below is typical:

  • Two weeks - your bandages will be removed and the foot will be examined
  • Six weeks - your shoe will be removed and the foot will be re-examined and X-rayed
  • 12 weeks - final appointment and discharge

When can I start to walk ?

Your surgeon will be able to advise you about the type of footwear you should use and how quickly you will recover. Below is a guide to what may be advised:

  • 0-6 weeks - you will be able to fully weight bear n a hospital shoe
  • After six weeks - you will be able to fully weight bear in your own shoes

How do I wash and shower?

During the first two weeks it’s important to keep the bandaging/foot totally dry although you will be able to shower with a waterproof cover over the foot. After two weeks you can shower without the cover if the wound is healed, but gently dab it dry.

How should I look after the wound?

Once the bandage is removed, don’t pull at your scabs, let them fall away naturally. If your wound becomes red, swollen or sore you should contact the Fortius Clinic and arrange to see your consultant to check you don’t have an infection.

Physiotherapy and rehabilitation

Your physiotherapist will guide you through the stages of rehabilitation including gait re-education (walking correctly again), toe mobilisation exercises, swelling reduction and reducing muscle tightness.

When can I start to drive again?

The DVLA states it’s the responsibility of the driver to ensure they are always in control of the vehicle. A good guide is if you can stamp down hard with the foot during an emergency stop and this will usually take at least four to six weeks. Although your specialist will advise you about when it’s safe to start driving again, it remains your responsibility to drive safely and you should also check with your vehicle insurer to confirm you are covered.

When can I work?

This depends on the type of work you do and how quickly you recover. As a general guide, if your job involves sitting down for most of the time, you should be able to return to work after two weeks; if it involves manual work, you may need to have up to eight weeks off.

What long-term outcome can I expect after surgery?

  • Once the wound has healed you should have far less pain
  • You should be able to carry on with most of your sports and other activities by three months
  • You should be fully recovered within six to 12 months although you may have mild swelling for up to a year

What are the risks of surgery?

Below is a guide to the risks of this type of surgery. However, your surgeon will discuss these with you before your procedure, and answer any questions you may have:

  • Infection
  • The chance of infection is around 1% and can usually be treated with antibiotics. Serious problems caused by infection are very rare and can be treated
  • Nerve damage
  • Nerves that supply feeling to the skin are near the operation site. Damage is rare but, if your toe stays numb after surgery, this may be because the nerve is damaged (a risk of around 5%) and this will usually recover
  • Under-correction/recurrence
  • Rarely, there may still be a small bump after surgery but this does not usually cause any problems. However, the risk of this is very small (around 5%) and further surgery can be carried out if necessary
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • You may be given blood-thinning medication after the surgery if you are at a higher risk of DVT (where a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the leg). However, DVT is fairly unusual (less than 3% of cases) after this type of surgery

Important:This information is only a guideline to help you understand your treatment and what to expect. Everyone is different and your rehabilitation may be quicker or slower than other people’s. Please contact us for advice if you’re worried about any aspect of your health or recovery




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